The Abuse of Disability Integration for Personal Benefits
My parents had never anticipated having a child with a disability until my elder sister contracted meningitis when she was two years old. The disease only affected her speech and we are grateful she’s alive considering meningitis is fatal. They had to make lots of adjustments to accommodate my sister’s needs. My parents experienced lots of challenges. This was a new task to them since they had very minimal information about disability. My sister endured a lot and still is, from the rude stares to being secluded from the rest just because the society deemed her as less human being with a defect. Parents would warn their kids from playing with my sister.
There were no special schools within our estate. It was difficult to find school for my sister and therefore my sister had to attend school far away from home. It was a struggle and that took a toll on my mother. My sister ended up joining school late. People would always stare rudely and even parents warned their kids from playing with my sister. With all the struggles my mother had to go through, she said that God had given her a new purpose in life. She started advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and give hope to their parents. The society should embrace persons with disabilities and treat them with dignity and respect.
Persons with disabilities find it very difficult to get jobs. There are very few persons with disabilities who are represented in the various Kenyan institutions. Even though the constitution clearly states that persons with disabilities have the right to seek employment and work at safe conditions. Some employers are totally unaware of and lack knowledge about persons with disabilities in this current day and age. The census results stated that there are about 4.6% of the Kenyan population who are disabled and yet people still lack awareness. The fact that employers see it as a burden to employ disabled persons is just absurd because they are human beings that God created in His own image and likeness. “ … Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11 New King James Version).
Employers are scared of employing disabled persons assuming that they do not have the capability to work or rather will not be able to work on what was assigned to them. The fact that a person is disabled, doesn’t mean they cannot function, they are differently abled and therefore employers need to assign trainers or coaches who will help them adapt to their place of work and therefore be able to do their work and meet demands set up for them.
Organizations are afraid of the costs associated with hiring disabled persons. It is the responsibility of an organization to ensure that there is a safe environment for every person working in the building including persons with disabilities. It should be an accessible environment and also they should provide suitable accommodation for the disabled persons. Disabled persons are not objects of pity as the society views them but rather individuals with rights. Employers and organizations think that employing them is a burden to the organization and therefore there would be loss of productivity. Persons with disabilities are not a liability. They are persons with rights who have the ability to outperform and do an extremely perfect job if given the chance to.
The media as well is guilty of portraying false stereotypes of persons with disabilities. The media is a very powerful tool that controls large masses. When they promote movies promoting false stereotypes about persons with disabilities, it totally affects how they are treated in the society. They reinforce negative perceptions in regard to the disabled persons. This in the end will affect individuals with disabilities and their social life. If people watch a movie depicting disabled persons as evil, they will perceive that information and distance themselves from disabled persons. Movies have also depicted persons with disabilities of having supernatural powers and are able to do impeccable or miraculous deeds.
The media as well is not featuring persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities rarely see people who look like them on the screens. They need to see themselves represented on the screens to give reassurance to those who feel unwanted in the society. Seeing someone who looks like you in a top position will help boost a person’s confidence and reassure them that their dreams are valid. This makes the disabled persons feel valued and that there’s no shame about having a disability and that God who created them made no mistake at all. Persons with albinism for instance, are the greatest consumers of the sunscreen product to help them shield themselves from the harmful sunrays but not once have they been featured in commercials for promoting sunscreen.
Disabled persons are mostly discriminated upon in their day to day life which restricts them from participating in the society in an equal basis with others. A person with disability might be dismissed for disability related absences which is very unfair. Employers and organizations might fire a disabled person even when during the application of the particular job he/she stated they have to undergo therapy sessions for instance during the course of the week. This clearly is discrimination that most disabled persons undergo in their various work places. Some will even be given an ultimatum to choose as to whether they want to work or take disability related absences. Most disabled persons would actually do their work on advance to fill up the missed hours or even do over shift to make it up to their employers. But some employers do not appreciate that.
Some employers go to the extent of withdrawing job offers subsequently once they find out that the candidate they offered the job to, is disabled. This is an inhumane thing to do. Just because a person is disabled doesn’t mean they are incapacitated to perform the tasks at hand. Employers do this because they think persons with special needs are going to affect the company’s productivity negatively. This has been the case because of the various stereotypes associated with the disabled persons.
Persons with special needs are at often times treated unfavorably by the organizations that have employed them. Most organizations employ persons with disabilities because it is a law of inclusivity in the constitution that states that all organizations should set aside slots for disabled persons. It feels like they have been forced to do so and therefore they begin to set up policies that will end up affecting disabled persons in comparison to those employees without disabilities. Organizations will also fail to make reasonable adjustments that will provide a suitable working environment for the disabled persons. This in the end will make work very difficult to do and therefore the disabled person may not perform well and will eventually be fired for underperformance.
Disabled persons are very vulnerable to harassment and victimization. Employers go to the extent of threatening disabled employees when they make complaints about discrimination in the office or unfavorable working environments which is basically their right. At times they would be sworn at by their colleagues at work and called names because of their disability. There’s only so much that an individual can take in. If you live and work in an environment that is constantly discriminating you for how God created you, you begin seeing yourself as worthless and this even pushes you to quit your job.
Education is paramount and it has significant returns. The government in the year 2003 declared education free in public schools to enable every children access quality education. These being the case, most disabled children are still not able to access quality education. (Ngulu, 2012) Differently abled persons need to attend schools for this is where they begin to learn and be trained on how to function at their level best. Most of these children are not able to access education reason being, schools are too far from where they live. There are very few special schools in Kenya, and of the few, they have not been adequately equipped to suite learning for students with different special needs and enable them to achieve their full potential. The few special schools are under-staffed and this means many kids are left unattended. Children in special schools need attention and they can be very demanding. It is not clear as to how much money the government has allocated to fund special schools.
Most disabled persons are denied admission in regular schools. Children with disabilities are enthusiastic about going to school but regular schools deny them admission because of their state which leads to exclusion of many of them. (Murray, 2010) The admission policies are discriminatory to disabled persons which forces many them to stay at home. Most of disabled persons live in poverty stricken conditions and when schools deny them admission, most of them wouldn’t be able to improve their living standards.
It’s unfortunate that some children with disabilities cannot attend school because they are being denied the right by their parents/guardians. Disabled kids are still being hidden in their homes because their parents are ashamed and are afraid of what people in the society’s negative perceptions. I once went with my mom to try and talk to the parent of a kid who had never come out of the house. It was horrible to see the state the child was in. he was in seated on a rug that was soaked in urine. He had developed sores on his body because of being left to sit on a wet place for too long. This is just one of the many horrible conditions disabled persons go through.
Children with various disabilities in schools are vulnerable to constant punishment and abuse. Some teacher’s subject disabled children to inhumane punishment for instance; they may be isolated by both teachers and fellow students or even being beaten for failure to recollect what has been taught. For kids with autism, punishing them will only reinforce aggression or self-injurious behavior. Bad choices have consequences but teachers should be trained on how to apply logic when punishing disabled children, which will help them learn to distinguish between right and wrong.
Persons with disabilities are likely to face abuse within their homes by caregivers or even family members. Some disabled persons are in need of additional support from other persons throughout their lives. Caregivers would neglect or even humiliate them. For instance, a disabled person that needs help to use the bathroom would be neglected by the caregiver and would be beaten for peeing on themselves even when they had asked for assistance earlier. They are also vulnerable to sexual abuse within their homes where they are supposed to feel safe.
Persons with disabilities face financial exploitation mostly by family members. Family members would force disabled persons to sign cheques and use the money for their own personal needs. They family members would then prevent them from communicating or receiving visits from relatives or friends so that there evil deeds don’t get exposed.
Disabled persons are used by their family or friends to acquire empathy from social media with the sole purpose of soliciting money to cater for their own selfish needs. At the end of it all, the disabled person does not benefit from it at all. Recently, the media exposed a group of people who lured the disabled persons and lied about helping them have a better life. They assembled a number of disabled persons and would drop them at the streets very early in the morning and then pick them up at night and take all the money well-wishers gave to them, claiming that it would cater for rent and the rent and food.
The government of Kenya has set up laws to protect persons living with disabilities but these laws are constantly violated. We are not closer to integrating persons with disabilities. Disabled persons, who are unjustly being left behind can work as well or do even better than persons without disabilities it’s about time we stop judging persons with disabilities basing on stereotypes and our own understanding and stop setting low standards of expectations for persons with disabilities. Often times we see the disability in a person and we judge their ability based on that. Organizations should stop ascerning jobs they think are suitable for disabled persons because that is discriminatory. Disability includes a wide range of impairments which may or may not disable a person with disability.
Employers need to understand that disability integration is not about finding and hiring disability that suits their structure but rather changing their structures to suit persons with disabilities. The society should therefore learn to accept disabled persons as they are and treat them with utmost respect and dignity.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below